16 Best Closed-Back Headphones In 2017

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2017)

Finding the best pair of closed-back headphones is always difficult, regardless of their purpose. We have written this article in order to try to help everyone who has doubts which headphones they should buy. This article will show how these types of headphones work, how different are they from other headphones, what are they perfect for and when you shouldn’t use this specific type. In addition, we have made short list of 16 best closed-back headphones, which contains some of the best models on the market that deliver great sound and some of them are a real bargain.

What are Closed-Back Headphones and How They Work?

As you already know, the market is flooded with so many different types of headphones with different design, features, and purpose. Full-size over-ear headphones are often considered the best and the most comfortable headphones. The most common types of over-ear headphones are open-back and closed-back headphones. The basic structure of both types is pretty much the same. The main difference is the design of the front side of ear cups, which causes that these headphones deliver such a different sound.

The main part of every pair of headphones that is responsible for delivering sound to user’s ears is driver. Drivers are responsible for converting electrical signal into sound. The drivers that are used for making closed-back headphones are the same as those that we can find in open-back headphones and their sound is not so different because of them. It is different because of the type of the cup.

Open-back headphones are designed in a way that their speakers aren’t fully covered, their covers look like some kind of mesh or grill, and you can see speakers and the whole inside of the cups through those covers. On the other hand, closed-back headphones have fully closed cups, often covered with sturdy plastic or some other material, which is not transparent.

The drivers inside the cups convert the signal into sound and send it in two directions – towards user’s ears and out of the cups. Drivers in open-back headphones can send some amount of the sound outside the cups because the cups are opened. That is not possible with closed-back headphones, because the sound that should go out of the cups, returns and goes to user’s ears again. That makes the music sound as if it is in your head. Besides that, closed-back headphones are designed to isolate outside noise. Closed ear cups and thick pads on the ear cups that seal nicely around your ear enable that. Some of the headphones have technology called active noise canceling technology or ANC, but some of them don’t, especially those made for studio work, because they should deliver more natural sound. However, all closed-back headphones have the ability provide at least 10 dB noise reduction.

Closed-back headphones have their advantages as well as disadvantages. What we can say is that it is all mostly a matter of taste. Some people love the feeling that the sound is in their head, just like some others love to listen to the melodies that sound like they are played in a room or some open space. Some would say that using open-back headphones is healthier than using closed-back headphones because they aren’t so loud and the sound doesn’t pile up in your ears. Also, people often think that closed-back headphones make ears sweat more than open-back headphones because they think ears “can breathe” when they use open-back models. We will definitely discuss some of these claims later, but let’s first see what makes these headphones so popular all over the world and what are their main advantages.

Best Closed-Back Headphones In 2017 – Top 16

Closed-Back HeadphonesModelRatingPrice
Mpow 0594.6$30 - $50
Audio-Technica M50x4.6$130 - $180
Sony MDR75064.6$70 - $100
Avantree Audition4.4$40 - $60
Bose QuietComfort 354.5$300 - $350
Beyerdynamic DT 7704.5$150 - $200
V-MODA Crossfade4.4$220 - $260
Audio-Technica M30x4.4$50 - $80
Sennheiser HD 2024.2$50 - $80
Monoprice 1083234.1$20 - $40
Sennheiser Momentum4.2$150 - $200
AKG K5504.2$120 - $160
COWIN E74.1$50 - $80
Sennheiser HD 2014.1$40 - $70
Koss UR-204.1$15 - $30
Shure SRH4404.1$60 - $90

What are the Advantages of Closed-Back Headphones?

Closed-back headphones were created and produced mostly to stop sound leakage and enable better noise isolation. In one word, they provide more intimacy and that makes them very popular and often used in many everyday situations from work to recreation.

  • Closed-back headphones make listening to music more intimate and protect user’s privacy

One of the things that modern people, especially in crowded busy cities, appreciate most is their privacy. No matter if they are listening to music or they are near the person who listens to music, they want their own space and they don’t want anybody to endanger it. In situations such as commuting or traveling by bus, plane or train, people don’t want anybody around them to know what they are listening to. As well, people who are sitting or standing near the person with headphones don’t want his/her music to disturb them and they have full right to expect that. That’s the moment when closed-back headphones come in handy. No matter if they are expensive or not, if they have active noise canceling or not, they will definitely help to maintain everyone’s privacy untouched.

  • Closed-back headphones help you concentrate on work

One of the most important purposes of closed-back headphones is their use in studios, mostly for recording, although some of them can be used for mixing too. They are better for recording because musicians who sing or play an instrument use microphones. Closed-back headphones help them block outside noise, which can distract them from their work, and hear all the imperfections in their performance. These headphones also prevent sound from leaking, so that no sound will get to the microphones and mess up the recording.

Because of the ability to reduce or completely cancel outside noise, closed-back headphones can be used at work in offices with many people. In these situations, they help people concentrate on the specific thing they are doing without distracting colleagues with their music.

  • They reduce outside noise better than any other type of headphones

When compared to any other type of headphones, over-ear or in-ear, closed-back headphones offer the best noise cancellation. If you try to use different type of headphones every day in the same situations, you will realize how good closed-back headphones are for noisy streets or crowded places in general. Earbuds are just too small and there is no chance that you won’t hear anything that’s happening around you. Open-back and even semi-open headphones have opened cups and sound circulation through the cups is inevitable. That leaves us with closed-back headphones, their closed cups and thick pads that seal around our ears tightly in order to prevent any sound from leaving those cups and any unwanted noise from entering.

  • Most of the wireless headphones have closed-back cups

Being made for canceling outside noise, closed-back headphones are perfect for crowded streets and offices, as well as commuting or traveling. That means you will more often take a pair of closed-back headphones with you when leaving house, than a pair of open-back headphones. The only problems are their weight, dimensions, and cables. These are the reasons why all the companies are trying to make lighter headphones that use Bluetooth technology and have as durable battery as possible. Because of that, you don’t have to think about cables; you can just relax and listen to your favorite music without anything distracting you, including a headache and the pressure on your head and ears.

  • They are more suitable for bass lovers

Although any professional musician would say that the amount and the intensity of bass in a song aren’t proportional with its quality level, there are many people who just love bass and that’s the reason why many companies make loads of money by producing headphones for those people Closed-back headphones are more convenient for that. The air is trapped in ear cups and that is perfect condition for making sound more intense. So, if you are bass person, don’t even think, closed-back headphones are perfect for you.

The List of 16 Best Closed-Back Headphones In 2017


Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear

Approximate Price: $38.00

Mpow 059 are one of the headphones that offer great quality and many options for more than reasonable price, so it’s no wonder they are bestseller.

These headphones are full-size over-ear headphones that come in three colors/color combinations (black, black/grey and black/red). They have glossy finish, so it might be irritating when you see your fingerprints all over your headphones. Otherwise, the design is simple, but pleasant and attractive. They have thick padding on the headband, which can be adjusted to the size of your head. The ear cups are big and closed-back. Ear pads on the cups are made from memory foam, they are thick and soft. They have circumaural shape and your ears will snug so tightly into the pads. However, because of their size, some users with bigger ears will find them too small. Mpow 059 weigh approximately 11 ounces, which makes them slightly weightier than average.

Mpow 059 are basically wireless headphones, but they can be used as wired when your battery dries out. The plug for audio cable is on the left ear cups. On the right ear cup, you will find many control buttons divided into 2 circles. In the outer circle, there are buttons for changing tracks and volume control. They don’t change color when pressed. In the smaller circle, there is one button. When you press it and hold for a few seconds, the headphones will power on/off. You can also use it to play music and answer/end calls. When your headphones are powered, the smaller ring turns blue and when they are pairing, its color goes from blue to red. On the same cup, there is small mic that sounds great when you are listening to the person you are talking to, but it can muffle your voice, so some prefer not to use these headphones for long talks.

Mpow 059 come with one 4ft audio cable with 3.5 mm connector, one USB to micro USB charging cable, user manual and one cloth carrying bag. The bag is useful because the headphones are foldable and they can be easily transported without taking too much space in your suitcase. They use Bluetooth 4.0 technology that enables you to maintain great signal even at 33ft distance. The battery enables up to 13 hours of playback or up to 15 hours of talking per charge. It requires 4.5 hours to fully recharge.

When it comes to sound quality, we can say that it is more than decent for the money you pay. These headphones have big 40 mm drivers, frequency response between 8 and 24,000 Hz, sensitivity of 122 dB and the impedance of 30 Ohms. The sound is pleasant and balanced. Depending on the type of music you are listening to, you might want stronger bass, but it is not so bad at all. Also depending on your taste, you might want an amplifier, but it is not really necessary. We must notice that there are some drops in sound quality when the headphones are in wireless mode. They also don’t have ANC, but the ear pads are so tight that they reduce up to 10 dB of ambient noise, which is quite good for cheaper headphones.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Simple and attractive design

Affordable price

Great sound for the money

Wireless and wired mode

Mpow 059 have mic

Foldable and durable

Good noise reduction

Mic doesn’t work in wired mode

No ANC

Not comfortable for everyone (people with bigger ears might find them uncomfortable)


Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones

Approximate Price: $149.00

Although they are advertised as professional monitor headphones, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are often used as consumer headphones. Their design is not the best on the market and they come only in black and white colors (they can even look too cheap to some people), but they are made mostly for professional use, so we won’t resent the manufacturer. These are really big headphones with adjustable thickly padded headband and big circumaural closed-back ear cups. Replaceable ear pads are thick and soft; they are covered with leather but they are comfortable and don’t cause sweating. ATH-M50x are originally wired, but as their cable is detachable, you can use them in wireless mode if you buy Bluetooth adapter. The cable has twist-and-lock mechanism, which makes it safe from sudden pulling and damaging. Ear cups can swivel for 90 degrees and the headphones are foldable and easy for transporting.

These headphones come with 3 detachable audio cables: two straight (1.2 and 1.8 m) and one coiled (1.2 to 3 m) cable. You can use these as spare cables and that will save you some money if one of them breaks. Besides the cables, Audio-Technica will send you one carrying bag, but considering plastic construction and the price, you should probably buy sturdy carrying case for traveling. Truth to be told, there were no major complaints about durability and there shouldn’t be as the headband is made from steel, but you can never be too careful. The only problem these headphones have is peeling the paint off on the ear pads.

ATH-M50x have 45 mm drivers with earth magnets, extended frequency response (15-28,000 Hz), impedance of 38 Ohms and the sensitivity of 98dB. These numbers tell you more than words – ATH-M50x sound great. Their sound is balanced, natural and clear, but also very detailed since they are professional headphones. They do not use active noise cancellation technology, but they isolate you from ambient noise quite well because of thick ear pads and closed-back design.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Very comfortable

Replaceable ear pads and audio cable

3 detachable audio cables included in the package

Great balanced and natural sound

Good passive noise isolation

The paint on ear pads starts to peel off after short use

No mic

No ANC

Not very attractive design


Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Approximate Price: $100.00

MDR7506 is one of the most popular Sony models of closed-back over-ear headphones with long tradition. It seems that this model will never stop being popular among different types of people, from professionals and audiophiles to ordinary users.

These headphones don’t have modern or elegant design, but we must admit that it is interesting. They come only in black and wired mode. The adjustable headband doesn’t have thick padding, but it is surprisingly comfortable. The ear cups can swivel and the weight of 8.1 ounces is evenly distributed on user’s head, so you won’t feel any discomfort or pressure while wearing them. These headphones are also foldable and they can be easily transported.

Sony MDR7506 come with one carrying bag made from vinyl and one 6.3 mm plug adapter for 3.5 mm gold-plated connector that is already on the 9.8ft coiled audio cable, which is not detachable.

These headphones have plenty of evidence of their quality and durability. The headband and ear cups are mostly made of metal. The rest is mostly plastic, but there were no major complaints about durability. The only problem users had was problem with ear pads, which are not as durable as they are comfortable. However, these are easily replaced and an extra pair of original pads costs only $10, so it won’t even cost you so much and it will extend the life of your headphones.

Sony wouldn’t have so long tradition if the quality of their products was bad. That means that you don’t have to worry that the sound of these headphones will disappoint you. They have 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnets, their sensitivity is 106 dB, impedance is even 63 Ohms and their frequency response is very realistic (10 – 20,000 Hz). MDR7506 deliver extremely balanced sound. The bass is not as strong as some would like, but these are studio headphones after all and weaker bass is normal for them. The sound you will hear will be natural, realistic and very detailed. If you love ANC, you might consider buying some other headphones, because these have only passive noise reduction.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Interesting design

Very comfortable

Extremely durable headphones

Ear cups can swivel and the headphones are foldable

Coiled cable is perfect for studio activities

Solid construction

Replaceable ear pads

Good sound isolation

Natural, balanced and detailed sound

No ANC

No mic

Ear pads aren’t durable

Audio cable isn’t detachable


Avantree Audition 40 hr Wireless/Wired Headphones

Approximate Price: $50.00

If you want relatively cheap headphones that offer decent comfort and good sound along with great portability and many other options, these headphones are the right choice for you. They come in two color combinations (black/red and black/brown) and they have very interesting design. They have very nice matte rubber finish that gives them smoothness and prevents those ugly fingerprints that fingers leave on glossy headphones.

Avantree Audition have adjustable headband covered with soft leather material, but there’s no padding, which may be uncomfortable for some users. On the good side, clamp force is big enough to enable stability, but not too big to cause any discomfort. The ear cups ear medium to small size and although they are over-ear headphones, some users with bigger ears will feel these as on-ear headphones. The pads are relatively soft, but if you find them too stiff, you can easily replace them with more comfortable ones. These weigh only 6.3 ounces which makes them even more pleasant for wearing.

As Avantree Audition were originally made to be wireless portable headphones, the manufacturer set all the important controls on the ear cups. You will find there power on/off button, as well as volume controls, also used for skipping tracks, mic, audio, and USB charging port, which is protected with small plastic cap.

These headphones come with one short 3.5 mm audio cable (so they can be used in wired mode too), USB charging cable, user manual and 2-year warranty card. They are made from sturdy materials with metal reinforcements on the headband and there were practically no complaints about durability and long life of these headphones. The battery Avantree uses is very durable and it can last up to 40 hours or 20 hours on standby. They use Bluetooth 4.0 technology and the operation range is 33ft. These headphones can be paired and connected to two devices at the same time; pairing process is very easy and they also support NFC.

Avantree Audition offer very satisfying sound for a pair of headphones in this price range. They use large 40 mm drivers and their impedance is 32 Ohms, which means they are great for use with portable devices. Their frequency range goes from 20 to 20,000 Hz and they offer only passive noise reduction and they do it well. These headphones deliver balanced sound with very decent bass, nicely forwarded mids and clear highs with only little sound leakage.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Attractive design with matte finish

Durable headphones

Replaceable ear pads

Wireless and wired

Good mic

 Great sound for the price

Durable battery

Not foldable

No ANC


Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series I) Wireless Headphones

Approximate Price: $329.00

All the main characteristics of Bose QuietComfort 35 are in their name. They are made to offer great sound and great comfort to their users, who can enjoy their music without any kind of noise disturbing them.

Bose QuietComfort 35 come in black and silver colors with nice and elegant matte finish. They are full-size closed-back headphones that can be used as wired or wireless headphones. They were created to enable you to wear them wherever you go, but the manufacturer added one audio cable in the packaging, just in case you need it when the battery runs out. The adjustable headband is wide and thickly padded and it is more stable on the head than some previous models. The ear cups have thick foamy ear pads covered with leather, which is very pleasant for skin and doesn’t make ears sweat.

All the buttons you might need are placed on the right cup (the left one is reserved for connecting audio cable). On the cup, there are volume controls and the button used for pairing the headphones with other devices, as well as the mic, which is rated as very good, so you won’t have any problems making long conversations.

Bose QC 35 come with the 3.84ft straight detachable audio cable with 3.5 mm connector, flight adapter, USB charging cable and one sturdy carrying case because the headphones are foldable and easily transported.

QC 35 are made from different materials such as plastic, metal, leather etc. The quality of construction was improved and some more sturdy materials were used, which might have caused the increase in weight (8.3 ounces), but these are still quite lightweight and pleasant for wearing. One of the things that is also durable is the battery. It can last for up to 20 hours per charge (there’s also economic passive listening mode that saves battery), it needs approximately 2.5 hours to fully recharge and the signal will be great even on 33ft distance.

When it comes to sound, you can be sure that these are worth their price. QC 35 have great equalizers that help to create balanced sound without too strong bass or highs. They certainly aren’t as perfect and clear as some professional headphones are, but most of the people are quite satisfied with the sound. These headphones have great passive reduction technology, especially because the pads are so thick and because they seal your ears so tightly. Also, QC 35 use ANC, which is great, except that it can’t be turned off when you use them in wireless mode.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Elegant and simple design

Extremely comfortable and light

Can be used as wired or wireless

Durable battery

Bluetooth 4.1 technology

Durable headphones

Good microphone

Great balanced sound

These headphones use ANC

ANC can’t be turned off in wireless mode


Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 32 Ohm Closed Studio Headphone

Approximate Price: $165.00

DT 770 Pro 32 Ohm are the newest model of closed-back over-the-ear headphones produced by Beyerdynamic, the famous German audio company. Beyerdynamic has several models of DT 770 Pro headphones, and the main difference between these models make ear pads, cable length, and impedance, while the sound quality remains pretty much the same. 80-Ohm version is perfect for studio recording and monitoring, while the 250-Ohm version is predicted for mixing. 32-Ohm version is the easiest for powering and because of its compatibility with different portable devices such as phones, tablets, and players, it is predicted for casual listening to music, especially in noisy environment, although it can be used in studios. In 2012 they were released as limited edition in honor of the 88th anniversary of Beyerdynamic, but a few years later, the company decided that these headphones will be permanently available.

DT 770 Pro 32 Ohm headphones have simple yet interesting and pleasant design and they are available only in black color. They have been rated as very comfortable. The headband has thick soft padding covered with some kind of leather material, as well as the ear pads. The size of the headband is adjustable, it is solid and it doesn’t put pressure on user’s head. The cups are closed-back in order to isolate as much sound as possible and they have Beyerdynamic logo on the front side. They are movable and adjustable and the pads are thick and soft and they ensure perfect snug for user’s ears. These headphones are wired and the cable is detachable, which is bad because it is not replaceable. They weigh 9.6 ounces, they are light and adequate for wearing for many hours.

DT 770 Pro 32 Ohm com in a rather simple packaging – besides the headphones, you will get only one 6.3 mm plug adapter for original 3.5 mm connector that is already on the 5ft long cable and one textile carrying bag, which is, to be honest, too thin for these headphones. The cable might be shorter than the cables on the other models, but these headphones are made to be portable, and the cable is there to make it easy. It also feels quite resistant and durable, just like the rest of the headphones. Hinges and the headband were made from metal and the ear cups from plastic.

As we have already said, the sound quality is practically the same as it is on other DT 770 models. These headphones have dynamic drivers, their frequency response is extended (5 – 35,000 Hz), the impedance is 32 Ohms, SPL is 96 dB and they also have great THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) which is lower than 0.2%. This model of DT 770 Pro has clear and detailed sound just like the other models. The bass is slightly elevated, but not too much, the mids are a bit quieter and the highs are very clear and crisp. In addition, these headphones don’t use ANC, but they isolate ambient noise pretty good, so be free to take them out to a noisy street.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Simple and interesting design

Durable headphones

Phone friendly

Lightweight and very comfortable

The sound is natural, clear and detailed, with slightly elevated bass

Great passive noise isolation

No mic

No ANC


V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone

Approximate Price: $249.00

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 are unique headphones, easily distinguished from the other over-ear headphones on the market. They are available in black and silver colors and some people probably won’t like their design, but if you want to be different, these are the headphones for you, especially because the manufacturer enables engraving any picture or logo you want on the front side of the ear cups.

M-100 are wired headphones with detachable cable, which can be inserted into both cups. The headband is adjustable and flexible and it is nicely padded. The hexagonal cups can cause some discomfort because the original pads aren’t thick and comfortable enough. They are rather small, too. The good thing is that they are replaceable, just like the cable, so you can get a pair of inexpensive XL memory foam pads that will lower down clamp force and make these headphones extremely comfortable.

M-100 come in a nice box with 2 Kevlar-reinforced cables with 3.5 mm gold-plated connectors, one 6.3 mm plug adapter, 2 corks for sealing the plugs on the cup that is not connected to the cable and one sturdy carrying case for transporting these foldable headphones. One of the cables has mic and remote controller and that one is used with Androids, Apple or Windows devices. The other cable doesn’t have mic and controls and it can be used with all the devices.

When it comes to durability, we must say that these are probably one of the most durable headphones on the market. They are made from metal and strong plastic, but they still manage to weigh only 9.8 ounces. These headphones were actually tested in severe conditions. They have military-grade quality and if they fall from six feet height for even more than 70 times, they will survive.

The sound quality of M-100 is amazing. They offer full sound, punchy bass and clear highs with distinctive vocals and instruments. Mid tones are quieter in order to emphasize bass and high tones. They have large 50 mm dynamic drivers, their sensitivity is 103 dB, impedance is 32 Ohms and their frequency range goes from 5 to 30,000 Hz. These headphones don’t have active noise cancellation, but they do a great job in the field of passive isolation, although they do leak certain amount of sound, but it is not alarming.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Unique design

Extremely durable

Great sound quality

Many accessories in the package

Good mic

Good passive isolation

M-100 need ear pad replacing in order to achieve maximum comfort

No ANC

Minor sound leakage


Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Monitor Headphones

Approximate Price: $69.00

ATH-M30x is the right choice for users who want great quality headphones for affordable price. They were made mostly for professional use or listening to music at home because walking around with such a long cable in your pocket is not the best option nowadays. Although they have pretty much the same design as M20x, M40x, and M50x, they are smaller than these models, so in that context, they are more portable. They have simple and professional look, but they aren’t ugly and you won’t be embarrassed if you wear them in public.

M30x come in black color only and they seem rather comfortable. The headband is adjustable and thickly padded. The ear cups look like racetracks with those two circles on the front side. The inner circle has printed Audio-Technica logo. The cups are movable so they can adjust easier to your ears and head, and the headphones are foldable, so they can be easily transported. The ear pads look rather cheap and they aren’t as soft as you would expect them to be, but thanks to low weight (7.8 ounces) the clamping force is negligible and the headphones can be worn for several hours straight. The bad thing is that the cable is not detachable, so you can’t replace it.

As far as the build quality is concerned, these headphones are not the best. They are made mostly from plastic, all the way from the ear cups to the hinges that are left without any reinforcement. The positive thing is cable quality, which seems way better than the quality of the rest of the headphones. It is thick and sturdy and it feels quite durable. M30x come in a modest packaging, but you can’t expect too much for $60. There are just headphones with 10ft cable with 3.5 mm gold-plated connector, 6.3 mm plug adapter and one thin carrying bag.

When it comes to the sound quality, we must admit that these headphones are better for critical listening and studio use than for casual listening. They are not made for the people who love too expressive bass. M30x have balanced sound with punchy bass and clear nice highs, but the mids are a bit quieter than necessary. However, with these headphones you get nice detailed sound with average distortion. They use 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnets, their sensitivity is 96 dB, their impedance is 47 Ohms and the frequency range goes from 15 to 22,000 Hz. M30x don’t have ANC, but they do solid job in the area of passive noise isolation and they can isolate up to 12 dB with minor sound leakage.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Extremely comfortable and lightweight headphones

Durable audio cable

Great balanced sound (not for those into bass)

 /  Simple design

Too plastic

No mic

No ANC

Too long cable for walking around


Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones

Approximate Price: $70.00

HD 202 II are relatively affordable version of professional Sennheiser headphones. They look rather interesting and attractive with all black style and the combination of matte and glossy parts. The size of the cups is a bit strange; it is somewhere in between over-ear and on-ear cups, so it depends on the size of your ears whether they will be comfortable or not to you. However, the ear pads are soft and they are covered with synthetic leather, so they might make your ears a bit sweaty after a few hours. On the center of the headband, there is soft thick padding and the headband size can be adjusted by sliding/moving ear cups up and down on the headband. That mechanism eliminates hinges that often break, but breaking is not excluded in this case either.

HD 202 II are wired headphones that have 10.1ft Y-shaped non-detachable cable with 3.5 mm connector. As the cable is too long for wearing around in your pocket, Sennheiser included in the packaging one cable winder, which makes things easier. Besides the headphones and the winder, the package includes one 6.3 mm plug adapter.

The build quality of these headphones is not really remarkable. They are made entirely from plastic, which tends to break if exposed to great physical stress or heavy use. The audio cable also has poor quality; it is thinner than it should be and it seems prone to breaking if exposed to a lot of pulling. We also must mention that some customers had bad experiences with ear cups. Don’t be surprised if one of them just stops working and all that is thanks to the bad quality of the cable.

On the bright side, sound quality is excellent and we wouldn’t expect less from a company like Sennheiser. These headphones have dynamic drivers, their impedance is 32 Ohm, sensitivity is 115 dB, their THD is great with its 0.5% and the frequency range goes from 18 to 18,000 Hz. HD 202 II don’t offer ANC, but they do manage to reduce decent portion of ambient noise and when you combine it with their loudness, you get a great pair of headphones with professional detailed and natural sound at affordable price.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Attractive design

Comfortable and lightweight (4.6 ounces)

Decent passive noise isolation

Not foldable

Not too durable

Ear cups tend to stop working after some time

No mic

No ANC

There is some sound leakage


Monoprice 108323 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphones

Approximate Price: $25.00

Monoprice 108323 are simple and cheap headphones, made to ensure good sound experience and decent comfort, and to do that, they had to save some resources by building the headphones from cheaper materials.

These headphones have simple design; they have that all black style and we must admit that they aren’t so attractive. However, they certainly aren’t ugly and you can freely go out with them to the street. The headband is adjustable and on its center, there are some kind of bumps that should represent padding. It is soft but some might find it uncomfortable, so you might consider buying some longer and thicker padding to cover these bumps and make these headphones more comfortable. The ear cups can swivel for 90 degrees and the headphones are foldable, which makes them portable because they don’t occupy so much space. The ear pads are thick, but they have oval shape and specific size, which might be problematic for people with bigger ears. We advise you to buy different ear pads because the original ones are easily replaceable.

Monoprice 108323 are wired headphones that don’t have mic or remote controls. They come with 2 audio cables, the thinner one is 4ft long and the thicker one is 11.5ft long. Both of them have 3.5 mm connector and you will get one 6.3 mm plug adapter. That’s pretty much all you get; there’s not even carrying bag, but if you take the price into consideration, you can’t really expect anything luxurious for less than $30.

The headphones are made from plastic mostly. It makes them look cheap and not so durable. They are also quite light (9 ounces), but they can survive regular use in normal conditions. Be aware that some customers had problems with headband cracking, especially near the hinges.

These headphones might be cheap, but they sound much better than expected for headphones in this price range. They have large 50 mm drivers and they are quite loud as their sensitivity is 100 dB. Their frequency range is 20 – 20,000 Hz and impedance 40 ohms. With these specifications, you get powerful bass, which is a bit muddy, slightly forwarded mids and very clear highs. The sound, in general, is full and pleasant and these can isolate a great deal of ambient sound, but only passively as they don’t use ANC.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Simple design

Foldable headphones with swiveling ear cups

Replaceable ear pads

Detachable cables

Great, full and clear sound

No ANC


Sennheiser Momentum Headphone

Approximate Price: $185.00

Sennheiser Momentum are truly one of those rare simply designed headphones that manage to be extremely elegant and sophisticated. They are available in black, brown and ivory colors and they have specific design that ensures durability but they aren’t foldable. The headband is not thickly padded as usual, but it is comfortable end it doesn’t put pressure on your head. Its size can be adjusted by moving ear cups up and down, which means they can’t swivel and it is more difficult to adjust their position. All in all, the cups have closed-back over-ear design and the pads are thick and soft and they ensure great snug for great comfort. The leather on the pads is premium quality, but it is definitely less comfortable than velour.

Sennheiser Momentum are wired headphones and they can’t be used otherwise, but at least, the cables are detachable, which makes them easy to replace. Both of them are approximately 4ft long. The interesting thing is that one of the cables has a hinge on 3.5 mm connector and because of that you can turn it from straight to L-shaped connector. In addition, there’s even mic on the cable along with remote controller, so you can use these headphones for making calls on your phone. Besides the cables, the packaging contains one 6.3 mm plug adapter and one quite nice and elegant sturdy carrying case.

As far as the build quality is concerned, in our opinion, you don’t have to worry too much. There were some complaints about comfort or some other aspects, but these headphones proved that they are quite durable, especially because they were made mostly from metal, all the way from ear cups to stainless steel headband. Surprisingly, the headphones weigh only 6.7 ounces in spite of the metal construction.

As you have probably expected from a pair of Sennheiser headphones, sound quality is great. They use dynamic drivers to enable that kind of stereo sound. The frequency response goes from 16 to 22,000 Hz, their impedance is 18 Ohm, which makes them highly compatible with all the portable devices such as phones and players. Their sensitivity is 110 dB, which makes them very loud, and THD is only 0.5%. You can already conclude that this seems promising, but we have to say that the sound is full and pleasant, the lows, the mids, and the highs are great and the bass is emphasized, but not too much to destroy the general impression. These headphones don’t have ANC, but they do a great job passively reducing ambient noise.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Extremely attractive design

Quite durable headphones

Metal construction

Very comfortable

Detachable cable (one of them has mic and remote controls)

Loud and clear sound

Very lightweight

No ANC


AKG K550 Closed-Back Reference Class Headphones

Approximate Price: $142.00

The first impression you will definitely get when you first see these headphones is that they are larger than average closed-back headphones. They are also a bit heavier than average, as they weigh more than 10 ounces and if you have small head, these might look too big and feel too heavy on your head.

AKG K550 have simple and elegant design and they come in a combination of black and grey with nice matte finish. Although they are big headphones, they look rather attractive. The adjustable headband is thickly padded, but it might need some kind of support padding and then you will get maximum comfort. Ear cups are round as well as the pads, which surround nicely your ears and isolate great amount of ambient noise. They are quite soft and the leatherette they are covered with is quite pleasant. The cups are flexible and they can swivel, but because of the size and weight, these aren’t the most portable model on the market.

K550 are wired headphones. The bad thing is that the audio cable is not detachable, but it also might be a bit long for wearing in your pocket because it is 9.8ft long. The cable ends with 3.5 mm connector and AKG will send you one 6.3 mm plug adapter. No bag is included, but we have already said that these were designed to be used at home.

When it comes to build quality, we must say that AKG made great effort in order to make durable headphones. The headband is metal and the ear cups are made from sturdy plastic and there were no complaints about breaking or cracking. The cable should also be quite resistant as it is really thick and covered with rubber material.

What makes these headphones great is their sound, and that is the one thing that will make you take K5550 out with you. They use large 50 mm drivers and their sensitivity is 114 dB. They have impedance of 32 Ohms and their frequency range goes from 12 to 28,000 Hz. As you can see, they are loud, detailed and they can be easily connected to any phone, tablet, and player and they will work perfectly. The sound is balanced with great mids and highs and slightly deeper bass, but it is not too emphasized. These don’t use ANC, but they reduce ambient noise very well with very little sound leakage.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Elegant design

Metal construction

Durable headphones

Great sound quality

Audio cable is not detachable

No mic

No ANC


COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Approximate Price: $60.00

E7 are budget headphones that might not be perfect, but they do offer decent quality for the money you pay. They come in black color with glossy finish, which means there will be many ugly fingerprints all over the cups, but they do look attractive though a bit cheap. The headband is quite flexible and although the padding is not too thick, it won’t put much pressure on your head. The ear cups are round and big, but they might not completely cover bigger ears. USB charging port is on the left ear cup and the mic, Bluetooth button, volume controls and on/off button as well as the ANC button and audio cable plug are on the right cup. When the Bluetooth is on, the small indicator on the front side of the right cup will turn blue. The cups can swivel for about 110 degrees, but the headphones aren’t foldable. Ear pads are thick and soft enough, but leatherette that covers the pads is kind of problematic because it peels off and breaks easily.

These headphones can be used as both wired and wireless. You will get them in a nice box, safely snuggled in some foamy material. The package contains headphones, USB charging cable, 3.9ft audio cable and one vinyl carrying bag. E7 can’t brag with exceptional build quality – there were many complaints about the quality of pads and the hinges that tend to break after several months, although the headband is made from metal with reinforcement on hinges. The headphones are a bit heavy and bulky with their 13 ounces approximately.

As far as the sound is concerned, we can’t say that we aren’t satisfied, but it is not perfect. Sound quality is good no matter if Bluetooth is on or off, the sound is full and the bass is rich, although the sound is clearer and generally more pleasant when listening to electronic music than other genres. ANC is supported, but it works only in wireless mode and it changes the sound: The soundstage gets larger, but it can get a bit dry. ANC is not perfect, but it certainly does better job than regular passive isolation. E7 have large 40 mm drivers and their impedance is 32 Ohm. Their frequency goes from 20 to 20,000 Hz, they use Bluetooth 4.0 technology with 45ft wireless range and durable battery that can last from 24 to 30 hours per charge.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Nice design

Adjustable and flexible headband

Wireless and wired mode

Durable battery

Good sound quality for the price

Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC supported

Easy pairing

Good mic

Heavier than average

Turning on ANC changes sound quality

Not very durable


Sennheiser HD 201 Lightweight Over-Ear headphones

Approximate Price: $58.00

With their 5.8 ounces of weight, HD 201 are one of the lightest affordable headphones out there. They are middle-sized headphones made mostly for home use because they aren’t foldable and they have really long cable for everyday outside use. Their design is a bit boring; they are black with grey parts on the front side of the cups. The headband is adjustable and it has nice padding, which could be a bit thicker. The ear cups are oval and the pads aren’t as thick as they should be, but they are spacious and the headphones have really small clamp force and they don’t put much pressure on your head or ears. However, your ears might get a bit sweaty after few hours, mostly because of the cheap leatherette that covers the pads.

HD 201 come with 3 m long audio cable with 3.5 mm connector and one 6.3 mm plug adapter. There’s nothing else, not even carrying bag. You might also want to order cable winder separately if you’re planning to wear these outside. As far as the build quality is concerned, HD 201 aren’t the most durable headphones in the world. They are made from plastic materials, which tend to break, but they can survive regular use and wearing in regular bags.

This time, Sennheiser did not make headphones with perfect sound, but it would be dishonest to say it is bad. HD 201 use dynamic drivers and they are quite loud because of their 108 dB sensitivity. Their frequency range goes from 20 to 18,000 Hz, they have 24 Ohms impedance, which makes them highly usable with portable devices and their THD is 0.7%. They offer decent sound with deep bass, emphasized mids and slightly forwarded highs. Although they practically leak no sound, they have only passive sound isolation, which is not the best offered.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Extremely lightweight

Comfortable

Decent sound for the money

Very stable on head

Y-shaped audio cable is not detachable

No mic or remote controls

Boring design

Not so good passive isolation


Koss UR-20 Home Headphones

Approximate Price: $18.00

Koss UR-20 Home Headphones are our best under-$20 over-ear closed-back headphones. They are cheap and they look cheap, but as the name speaks for itself, they are quite good for casual everyday use at home. These headphones don’t have extremely attractive design, especially because of those plastic hinges on the sides that will stand out on your head. They come in all black color with matte finish. The headband is soft and adjustable, and very flexible, but there’s no padding. The ear cups have circular shape and they can’t swivel and the headphones aren’t foldable. The ear pads are very soft but cheaply made and you can’t expect them to be in perfect condition for a long time before the top layer starts to peel off. However, they are spacious and they should be comfortable for most of the users. The headphones are also quite light because they weigh only 8.8 ounces.

UR-20 come in a rather poor packaging that contains only the headphones and one 6.3 mm plug adapter. As these are only wired headphones, you get 8ft audio cable that is not detachable. It has 3.5 mm connector and it doesn’t have mic or remote controls. The build quality is average or below average, but you can’t expect more for less than $20. They are made from plastic mostly and the headband is made from some kind of fabric.

As far as the sound quality is concerned, we will say that it is decent for the price. The bass is quite nicely extended, but the mids are a bit muddy. If you like to listen to very loud music, don’t buy these headphones because they leak great amount of sound at high volumes. They also fail to isolate ambient noise very well, so they aren’t perfect for noisy street either. UR-20 use drivers with neodymium earth magnets and their impedance is 32 Ohms. Their SPL is only 97 dB and the frequency range goes from 30 to 20,000 Hz.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Decent amount of comfort

Very affordable

Nice sound quality for such a low price

Adjustable, soft and flexible headband

No mic

Not very durable

Audio cable isn’t detachable


Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones

Approximate Price: $79.00

SRH440 are affordable headphones originally made for professional use, but they can be quite handy for casual listening if you like the type of sound these produce.

They come in all black version with matte finish and we can say that they have some kind of professional look, but they aren’t ugly. The headband is adjustable and flexible, it is not thickly padded, but the headphones are relatively light (9.6 ounces) so they don’t put too much pressure on user’s head and they don’t have too big clamp force and because of that, they aren’t really stable, so you don’t want to wear them to the gym. The ear cups are oval and angled. Shure logo is on the front side of the cups and above them, there are red and blue signs for right and left cups. They are foldable, so they can be easily transported in their bag. The pads are relatively thick and dense, so there will be enough room for everyone’s ears. The pads are removable, so you can replace them and extend the lifespan of your headphones.

SRH440 are wired headphones and they come with 9.8ft coiled cable with 3.5 mm connector, one 6.3 mm plug adapter and one carrying bag. The cable is detachable, but it doesn’t have mic or remote controls, so these are not so great for making phone calls or walking around because of the long cable.

The build quality is decent, but it could be better for the price. SRH440 are made mostly from plastic and they are relatively durable, especially for casual daily use, but there were some complaints about the ear pads and the quality of hinges.

Sound quality is quite good for headphones in this price range and concerning the fact that these are mostly studio headphones. They have 40 mm dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets, frequency response that goes from 10 to 22,000 Hz, 44-Ohm impedance and 105 dB of sensitivity. They offer good sound with acceptable distortion, good, but slightly inconsistent bass, nice mids and highs with a bit sharper treble. In addition, these headphones have only passive sound isolation thanks to the closed design, but they don’t do their job perfectly because the isolation is not so good and the amount of sound leakage is big.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Simple and professional looks

Adjustable and flexible headband

Replaceable ear pads

Comfortable and spacious

Foldable

Relatively durable

Detachable cable

Good sound quality for the price

No mic

No ANC


Things You Should Pay Attention to When Buying Closed-Back Headphones

  • Purpose

Whenever you are buying certain product, one of the most important things you should define before purchase is the purpose of that product. You should do the same when buying headphones. Defining the purpose can save you a lot of time and money.

In the text above, we have described some of the situations when closed-back headphones can be used, so if you need headphones for traveling or commuting, or maybe professional headphones for recording, closed-back headphones are right choice for you and we are sure you will be able to find some great options on our list of 16 best closed-back headphones.

  • Headphone specifications

Understanding headphone specifications can help a lot. It might seem a bit confusing at the beginning, but if you try to learn some basic information about headphones and how they work, it won’t be so difficult to conclude which headphones are good. That doesn’t mean they are perfect. You know nothing about a product until you try it, so going to the store and trying some of the headphones there remains the best option.

However, we will try to describe the meaning of the most important numbers that you can find in specification list because they will show you what kind of sound quality you can expect.

  • Driver size

Drivers are devices located in ear cups/ear pieces that transform electrical signal into sound. They can be made from different materials, but they are most often made from neodymium. Over-ear headphones have large drivers because the quality of sound depends on driver size. Over-ear headphones usually have 40-mm drivers. The sound that headphones deliver will be better if the drivers are bigger.

  • Frequency response

Frequency response has the shape of a chart that represents how the device reacts to a set of tones (from the lowest to the highest). Hearing range of a human is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz, so if your headphones have frequency response in that range, you can consider your headphones good, although some of them have extended frequency response and those are mostly made for professional use because they can reveal even the most hidden flaws of certain melody.

  • Impedance

Impedance represents electrical resistance and the power needed for supplying devices depends on it. Impedance is measured in Ohms and if you see bigger impedance value in specifications, that means your headphones need big voltage. However, the tendency is to lower the impedance down because that would mean that any headphones can be used with phones, tablets, and notebooks without amplifiers.

  • Sensitivity/SPL

Sensitivity is measure for sound pressure level (SPL) and it is expressed in decibels per volt. The bigger the sensitivity, the louder your headphones are.

  • THD

You should know that there is no perfect sound that is not distorted at all, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding the best possible sound. Total harmonic distortion (THD) should be lower than 1%, so any headphones that have that kind of sound are great.

  • Comfort

Comfort is extremely important in every aspect of our lives and wearing headphones shouldn’t be an exception. Things that make headphones comfortable are their headbands and ear pads. The headband should be sturdy, but it should have thick soft padding and it should distribute the whole weight evenly on every part of your head. Of course, the whole headphone weight shouldn’t be too big or too light because the headphones wouldn’t be stable. The pads on ear cups should be thick and soft, and it would be perfect if they were covered with velour because that material provides least sweating and maximum softness.

  • Durability

We are mentioning durability because we assume nobody buys headphones for one day. If you spend certain amount of money on a product, it should last for some time. If you want your headphones to last for years, you will have to invest more money and pay attention to the materials headphones were made from. Usually, headphones are more durable if they are made from metal because it breaks less than plastic. You should also pay attention to hinges and joints between headband and ear cups because those parts tend to break most often. The audio cable is definitely one of the most important parts of your headphones. It should be rubber cable with gold-plated metal connector and it should also be detachable, just like the pads on headbands and ear cups. If these are easily replaceable, you can extend the life of your headphones even for years.

  • ANC

First, we should explain the difference between noise isolation and noise cancellation, which are commonly confused.

On the one hand, all closed-back headphones (even earbuds) isolate certain amount of noise. The effectiveness of noise isolation depends on the thickness and the shape of ear pads. If the pads are very thick and have circumaural shape and if your ears can snug tightly inside the pads, your headphones will physically isolate good portion of ambient noise.

On the other hand, active noise cancellation technology is the technology that electronically cancels sound waves. These headphones have microphones that listen to the sound that is approaching the headphones and the ANC modifies the incoming waves and makes the opposite ones.

We can’t say that ANC isn’t great technology and that it can’t come in handy in busy cities, but if you like to be more aware of the situation around you, closed-back headphones without ANC are better choice, because they let some amount of ambient noise to enter the headphones and that makes them sound more natural. You should also be aware that noise cancellation works better with low sounds like engines and air conditioners, but it is not so good with midrange sounds such as voices.

  • Price

When it comes to money, defining your price range at the very beginning can help a lot. It doesn’t really make sense to spend time on looking and thinking about models that cost $1000 if you have only $100. We assure you that good headphones can be found even for $20 and our text proves it. They don’t have to be the prettiest headphones in the world and they don’t have to be marked with a big B to sound great.

Can Closed-Back Headphones Damage My Hearing?

It is not rare that people notice some strange buzzing in their ears and, in the few last years, the number of such reports has increased. That buzzing is the first sign that something is wrong. Scientists and doctors call it tinnitus and they say it is often caused by listening to loud music.

As you probably already know, the sound level of your phone or music player can reach loudness of 120 dB, but even the noises over 85 dB can damage our hearing because those noises remove myelin from nerve cells responsible for sending electrical signal from ears to brain. In addition, some other studies show that even the noises above 85 dB (which correspond to standard traffic noise) put people at risk of hearing damage.

Many people say that closed-back headphones are bad for hearing because the sound piles up in ear cups and your ears. We can’t confirm that closed-back headphones specifically affect hearing so much, but we must agree that all headphones can endanger it if you listen to music all the time at maximum volume. Headphones have become inevitable and we can’t do anything about that, but we certainly can set the volume at some reasonable level.

To conclude, buying headphones has never been an easy task. Quality headphones with the type of sound that suits you best can make every activity in your life more interesting and pleasant. However, headphones are not all about brands and the looks. Every pair of headphones is made with a lot of engineering knowledge and great effort, especially when it comes to sound. That’s something that should be more important than the looks and big logos of famous consumer companies.

We have tried to emphasize the most important things for this kind of purchase and we are sure that our list of 16 best closed-back headphones can help you pick the best option for you.


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